Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Ferraria crispa Burm.

Cormous perennial with linear-lance-shaped, stem-clasping leaves, to 30cm long, and upward-facing, yellowish-brown, spotted flowers, or uniformly brown flowers with a lighter edge, to 2.5cm across, in spring.  To 1m.  [RHSE, Hortus, CECB].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘In the vegetable line, it is certainly one of the most singular and beautiful of nature’s productions; much it is to be regretted that its flowers are of very short duration, opening in the morning and finally closing in the afternoon of the same day; a strong plant will, however, throw out many blooms in succession.’  Long known in Holland and first described in 1646, but probably first grown in Britain by Miller at the Chelsea Garden.  [BM t.144/1791].

History at Camden Park

The only reference is a handwritten entry in a copy of the 1850 catalogue held at the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and inscribed on the front Wm. Macarthur, 23rd Dec. 1854.  [ML 635.9m].  Certainly grown in the gardens at this time.


Published Oct 19, 2009 - 04:54 PM | Last updated Jul 23, 2010 - 11:52 AM

Shown are stem-clasping leaves and upward-facing, yellowish-brown, spotted flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.144, 1791.

Ferraria crispa Burm. | BM t.144/1791 | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Ferraria undulata L. 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Ferraria undulata 

Confidence level high